Christmas is coming early this year to Waxahachie.

Santas of every shape, size and style will be coming to downtown Thursday, July 25 to help children in need. These Santas along with Mrs. Claus and elves are a part of a group called Lone Star Santas.

Lone Star Santas helps children who are the victims of natural disasters.

“We are a group of Santas from Texas and some of the surrounding states that have joined together to help us promote the fun of being Santa. When the Joplin tornado happened a few years ago a couple of the Santas got the idea to do a Convoy of Toys,” Lone Star Santa member Chuck Lee said.

“We are approved by Federal Emergency Management Agency and the American Red Cross as second responders and go in after disasters. More than 40 Santas turned out to give toys to the children of West. We had hundreds of children come out and gave away thousands of toys.”

Lee said when they go into an area they not only minster to the children but to entire families as well. In disaster situations parents are most concerned that their children are safe, have food and shelter. Replacing lost toys is low on their list of concerns, Lee said.

When the group was in West one of the children came up to one of the Santas and gave him a Matchbox car and told him to give it one of the children who lost their toys. Later on that day another little boy was looking for a Matchbox car and could not find one he was looking for and asked the Santa for help. The Santa picked up the car given to him by the other boy and said ‘does it look like this? The boy exclaimed and said ‘yes that is one I lost,’” Lee said.

Also during the group time in West they made a donation to the city’s youth league baseball organization that had lost a lot of its equipment. The catch phrase of the group is that they “bring love, hope and joy wrapped up in a big Santa hug” and that is its goal to spread hope to achieve when they come into a community to work.

The event is from 6-9 p.m. around the downtown square. Lee hopes to have around 25 Santas along with Mrs. Claus and elves to visit with children. The event will feature Christmas music, story time with Santa, live entrainment and pictures with Santa. There will be two Santa chairs set up on two sides of the courthouse for pictures.

Food will be available for purchase from Chick-fil-A, who is the food sponsor for the event. People attending the event can picnic on the square and have a picnic with Santa. There will be two spots set up in downtown where people can make a donation to the group. Items needed include new and unwrapped toys and stuffed animals, monetary donations and gift cards. People who wish to make a donation by check need to make their checks out to Lone Star Santas Convoy of Toys.

Some of the other areas that the group has worked in include Lancaster, Possum Kingdom and Cleburne. Donations collected from this event will go to help the children of Moore, Okla. and other areas. The group is staffed by all volunteers and all donations made to them go directly to help children affected by disasters.

“I can’t say enough about how impressed that I am with this group. This is our first event that we have planned with them. Throughout the planning process it has been wonderful working with them,” Community Relations Manager Amy Hollywood said. “They came to the Crape Myrtle Parade to promote this upcoming event. We had Santas travel from San Antonio and Houston just to ride in our parade to help promote this event. I think a few of those are coming back again. This is something that they really take pride and ownership in and they have a heart for the kids.”

Hollywood said the event is held in connection with the 12 months of Christmas events that the city is doing each month under the newly lit courthouse square. These not only incorporate Santa but its goal is to bring people to downtown to showcase what it has to offer.

For more information about Lone Star Santas, go to www.lonestarsantas.org. For more information about the event, contact Hollywood at city hall at 469-309-4012.

Follow Andrew on Facebook at www.facebook.com/AndrewBrancaWDL or on Twitter at www.twitter.com/AndrewBrancaWNI. Contact him at andrew.branca@waxahachietx.com or 469-517-1451.